RFDS employs new model
The Royal Flying Doctor Service has upended its operating model so corporate and individual donations no longer bankroll day-to-day operations and are instead used for big-ticket items.
The change, combined with a commercial approach to operations, has allowed the RFDS to buy four Pilatus PC-24 planes at $12.4 million each, a $5 million hangar and an operating facility in Broome.
It was a model employed by finance executive-turned-WA chief executive Grahame Marshall, who stepped into the position six years ago after several years in senior management in the corporate sector.
The former Westpac and Territory Insurance Office boss came to the job with a clear purpose — to sell the organisation’s brand.
“The brief when I was recruited was quite clear: ‘we have a great brand and legacy, we’ve been around for almost 80 years, but the environment is changing, the competitive nature of the market is changing’,” he said.
“It is not enough just to be a non-for-profit anymore and hope people will support us.”
He said there was more of a focus now on providing measurable outcomes to potential donors, which required a commercial mindset.
“Corporates are still wanting to invest in worthwhile causes but have less dollars to do that so are investing in the ones we think make a real difference and can prove their efficiencies,” he said.
“That’s why we are focusing in the last five years on our commercial focus so we can sit down with corporates and say ‘here’s exactly where the money goes and here’s our cost to deliver those services’.”
Most of the RFDS’ $90 million budget comes from Government contracts, with about $9 million by fundraising.
RFDS boss Grahame Marshall with one of his organisation’s planes.